Abi Morgan

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Abi Morgan

BornAbigail Louise Morgan
1968 (age 53–54)
Cardiff, Wales
OccupationScreenwriter
Period1998–present
GenreDrama
Notable worksSex Traffic, Brick Lane, The Hour, The Iron Lady, Shame, Suffragette
SpouseJacob Krichefski
Children2

Abigail Louise Morgan OBE (born 1968) is a Welsh playwright and screenwriter known for her works for television, such as Sex Traffic and The Hour, and the films Brick Lane, The Iron Lady, Shame and Suffragette.

Early life[edit]

Abigail Louise Morgan was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1968.[1][2] She is the daughter of actress Pat England and theatre director Gareth Morgan, who was director of the Gulbenkian Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne (now the Northern Stage). Her parents divorced when she was a teenager and her childhood was spent moving around the country while her mother acted in repertory theatre; she told The Scotsman in 2010 that she had attended seven separate schools during her childhood.[3] Her sister is the fundraiser at London's Unicorn Theatre.[4]

After initial ambitions to become an actress herself, she decided to become a writer while reading drama and literature at Exeter University.[5] She then took a postgraduate writing course at the Central School of Speech and Drama.[4]

Writing career[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Having not dared to show any of her writing "to anyone for five years", her first professional stage credit was in 1998 with Skinned at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. She has written plays for the Royal Exchange Studio Theatre Manchester, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Court, London.[6] Her 2001 play Tender commissioned by Birmingham Rep Theatre and co-produced with the Hampstead Theatre gained her a nomination as "most promising playwright" at the 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards.

Television[edit]

Morgan gained her first television writing credit in 1998 on the continuing ITV drama series Peak Practice, following that with a television play My Fragile Heart (2000) and a BBC2 drama Murder in 2002, starring Julie Walters.[4]

She was commissioned to write the single drama Sex Traffic for Channel 4 in 2004, about a teenage girl trafficked from the Balkans to Britain. This drama, directed by David Yates, won the 2005 BAFTA award for Best Drama Serial. She has since written a number of single dramas for television including Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006), White Girl, part of White (2008) and Royal Wedding (2010), which follows the 1981 Royal Wedding through the perspective of events held in a small Welsh mining village. Her television work also includes writing Birdsong, a two-part television adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's novel of the same title.

Morgan's first continuing drama series was The Hour (2011), set in a BBC newsroom during the 1956 Suez Crisis. It was commissioned for a second series,[5] but cancelled after the second series was transmitted, its ratings having been one quarter lower than the first.[2] In 2013, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special for The Hour,[2] having also been nominated in 2012.[7]

Morgan wrote the legal drama The Split, about the private and professional lives of divorce lawyers, first shown on BBC1 in April 2018.

Film[edit]

Morgan has also written for cinema: her 2007 adaptation of Monica Ali's novel Brick Lane was critically acclaimed, but created controversy – some Brick Lane Bengalis labelled the film "defamatory" and a planned royal film performance was cancelled.[4] Her next film was The Iron Lady, which starred Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, closely followed by a smaller-budget production, Shame, co-written with Steve McQueen.[5] Her work on The Iron Lady earned her a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay nomination,[8] while her work on Shame earned her a BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film nomination. She has said that she always puts one line from her last film in her next film.[9]

Her next film, The Invisible Woman, was an adaptation of the book of the same name by Claire Tomalin, about the secret love affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan, which lasted for thirteen years until his death in 1870. The film was released to critical acclaim in 2013, but its production was reportedly strained after clashes between lead actress Kristin Scott Thomas and Morgan on set, the source of which was never disclosed.[10]

A staunch opponent of Brexit, Morgan was one of nine leading playwrights to contribute to a series of online dramas in 2017 responding to the causes and consequences of the EU referendum result. Entitled Brexit Shorts, Morgan's monologue, The End, starred Penelope Wilton as a woman on the brink as she faces the consequences of the end of her 43-year-old marriage.[11]

Non Fiction[edit]

In May 2022, Morgan released a memoir entitled This Is Not a Pity Memoir, in which she discusses her husband's battle with encephalitis.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Morgan lives in the north London neighbourhood of Stroud Green in Haringey,[13] with her husband, actor Jacob Krichefski, and their two children.[14]

In January 2020, Morgan said that she was recovering from breast cancer.[15]

Morgan was awarded an OBE in the 2018 Birthday Honours.

Selected works[edit]

Plays[edit]

  • Skinned (1997)
  • Sleeping Around (1998) – co-written with Mark Ravenhill, Stephen Greenhorn and Hilary Fannin
  • Fast Food (1999)
  • Splendour (2000)
  • Tiny Dynamite (2001)
  • Tender (2001)
  • Monster Mum (2005)
  • Fugee (2008)
  • Chain Play – Production II – co-written with Neil LaBute, Mike Poulton and Tanya Ronder
  • The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn (2009), as part of The Great Game: Afghanistan
  • Lovesong (2011)
  • 27 (2011)
  • The Mistress Contract (2014)[16]
  • The End (2017)

Film screenplays[edit]

TV screenplays[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Morgan, Abi (2022). This is Not a Pity Memoir. London: John Murray Press. ISBN 978-1-5293-8833-6. OCLC 1313596963.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Archived from the original on 14 July 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Writer Abi Morgan has last laugh at the Emmys". Wales Online. 23 September 2013. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  3. ^ Aidan Smith, Interview: Abi Morgan, screenwriter Archived 7 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Scotsman, 4 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Maggie Brown, Abi Morgan: Cometh the hour Archived 11 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Stage, 15 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Nigel Farndale, Abi Morgan interview Archived 27 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2011.
  6. ^ List of theatrical works Archived 20 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Doollee.com
  7. ^ "Awards Search". Television Academy. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2012: Nominations". BBC News. 27 March 2012. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Abi Morgan meets Bola Agbaje | Guru Encounters". BAFTA Guru. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 10 November 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  10. ^ "What's going on between Abi Morgan and Kristin Scott Thomas?". www.standard.co.uk. 7 February 2014. Archived from the original on 13 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Leading playwrights create Brexit dramas for The Guardian". The Guardian. 19 June 2017. Archived from the original on 13 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Screenwriter Abi Morgan: 'I am absolutely the same, but profoundly changed'". The Guardian. 1 May 2022. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  13. ^ Bloomfield, Ruth (13 May 2015). "A Victorian Home in London's Stroud Green Gets a Modern Basement". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  14. ^ Lewis, Helen (15 October 2015). "Abi Morgan on Suffragette: "These were voiceless women. We gave them a voice"". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  15. ^ Ravindran, Manori (27 January 2020). "Writer Abi Morgan Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis". Variety. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  16. ^ "The Mistress Contract at The Royal Court Theatre". The Royal Court Theatre. Archived from the original on 15 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.

External links[edit]